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27 April 2017
RUC2014 Blog 15 Waste to Wealth: production of biogas energy from organic waste in Nigeria Print
Thursday, 07 May 2015 10:25

The issue of sourcing modern renewable energy sources remains a top global priority.  University of Calabar highlights the potential of biogas technology.

Recycling waste. Generating biogas

The issue of sourcing modern renewable energy sources remains a top global priority. University of Calabar highlights the potential of biogas technology. Recycling waste to generate biogas using anaerobic digesters presents a viable proposition to mitigating the environmental hazards posed by such wastes and the energy crisis occasioned by over dependence on fossil fuel.

 

Prospects of getting wealth out of waste

The project involved the microbial analyses and evaluation of biogas production capacity of three waste substrates: water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes); cow dung and poultry droppings. Water hyacinth was selected as it is a huge nuisance to agricultural mechanization for increased food production. It interferes with irrigation channels and fishing activities and there is a mammoth cost involved in controlling this waterweed. Effective food production is critically needed to feed Africa’s teeming population. In addition, the water in which water hyacinth grows becomes a breeding ground for disease-spreading insects and pests.

 

Dr Asikong sampling water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) from a swampy pond at Itigidi, in Abi Local Government area of Cross River State. This waterweed, considered an agricultural pest, can be used as a source of biogas


All three waste substrates (water hyacinth, cow dung and poultry droppings) were fed into digesters to breakdown these complex compounds without using oxygen (i.e. an anaerobic process) with and without starter cultures for 45 days at intervals of five days. These digesters were locally designed in Nigeria and are light and portable, which facilitates accessibility, maintenance and use in the country.

"For women in particular, using biogas for cooking has the potential to save valuable time, which they could put to better use caring for their family or exploring income-earning opportunities"

For women in particular, using biogas for cooking has the potential to save valuable time, which they could put to better use caring for their family or exploring income-earning opportunities. Biogas use, rather than collected firewood, would reduce the risk of physical assault or animal attack when women search for firewood on their own in remote areas. In addition this cleaner source of energy reduces indoor air pollution with its concomitant health consequences.

 'Gwari woman'woman carrying heavy firewood: Photo Credit  "Jujufilms.tv."


Insights on biogas production

The results indicate that though each substrate-fed digester produced varying quantities of biogas, the combination of the three substrates yielded the highest result followed by cow dung, which produced the most energy when compared to similar quantities of the other two substrates.

There are opportunities for women to easily make use of accessible organic waste that is currently not used for any purpose. This may give insight into possible opportunities to use combined domestic organic waste to produce biogas

The use of different identified culture-containing species of methane-producing bacteria was shown to produce higher quantities of biogas than without, irrespective of the type of substrate. The duration of anaerobic digestion was indicated to affect biogas yield peaking at the 15th to 20th day. This shortening of the process from the previous 45-day period reduces costs, increases accessibility and saves time. This has implications for reducing the overall cost of production, since production-cycle time will be shortened.

 

Methane flame from biogas produced using organic waste products.


 

The next important step

To harness the potential benefits of biogas production from organic waste necessitates the scaling-up of this local technology. This is where the issue lies. How this can be achieved remains the quest and question.

However the pertinent question begging for answers is when will this local technology become freely accessible and affordable to those it sets out to serve –the women who need it most.

 

Call to Action

Join the conversation https://www.facebook.com/uncial.edu.ng   on how to accelerate the uptake of biogas research. Find the details  and join the quest to make your opinion count in making the world a better place.

The previous blog in this series can be found here and the next blog of the series is here

Research Uptake Communicator
Dr. Regina Idu Ejemot-Nwadiaro
Dept. of Public Health
College of Medical Sciences
University of Calabar
Nigeria
reginaejemot@yahoo.com
r.ejemot_nwadiaro@unical.edu.ng

 

Researcher
Dr. Ernest B. E. Asikong
Dept. of Microbiology
Faculty of Science
University of Calabar
Nigeria
ebeasikong@gmail.com

 


 

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